D. S. Falconer, 1913-2004

By Razib Khan | December 24, 2011 2:04 pm

In response to comments and queries below I’ve been poking around for more experimental material on quantitative genetics, and in particular the breeder’s equation. That’s how I stumbled upon this very interesting and informative obituary of D. S. Falconer in Genetics. It reviews not only the biographical details of Falconer’s life, but much of his science. It’s free to all now, so I highly recommend it! (as well as Introduction to Quantitative Genetics, which is quite pricey right now, but just keep watching, I recall getting a relatively cheap copy of the 1996 edition) Curiously, quantitative genetics is rather unknown to the general public in comparison to the biophysical sexiness of molecular genetics, but in most ways it’s the much better complement to the “folk genetics” which often crops up in our day to day life (e.g., “why is so-and-so’s son so short when so-and-so is so tall”). DNA illuminates the discontinuities of Mendelian inheritance, often in the gloomy realm of disease, but quantitative genetics sheds light on the continuities and variations we see across the generations.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Quantitative Genetics
  • http://www.propithecus-verreauxi.com rich lawler

    This photo from Joe Felsenstein’s website shows a young Doug Falconer in some very esteemed company. The collective brain power there is staggering…


  • Henry Harpending

    I found the book available from a shipper in India at a very reasonable price, following up a link on the book’s Amazon web page. The copies I received were accompanied by a note saying that it was perfectly legal for them to sell the book to me but the books themselves were labeled as for sale only in a group of South Asian countries.


  • http://evolution.gs.washington.edu Joe Felsenstein

    Douglas was also a really nice guy, a very good, decent person. I was loaned his 1960 first edition when I was a summer student in the Jackson Lab in Bar Harbor, Maine, the year between high school and college. I learned my first population genetics theory from him. Eight years later, a postdoc in Edinburgh, I had the pleasure of telling him I had learned my field from his book. His and Trudy’s book (in any edition) is a real classic and well worth having.


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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at http://www.razib.com


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